Pattern of Firings for Corruption Investigators?

The story of the eight US Attorneys who were involved in public corruption investigations centered on elected officials and subsequently fired has ensnared Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and New Mexico Reps. Pete Domenici and Heather Wilson -- now, as details resurface about the 2002 firing of a US Attorney investigating lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the trail leads to the office of Karl Rove.

 

According to the Associated Press, New Mexico Republican Party Chair Allen Weh complained to Rove about the activities US Attorney David Iglesias, who has said he received pressure from Reps. Domenici and Wilson to accelerate his investigation of Democrats in advance of the 2006 elections. Weh claims he then received assurances from Rove that Iglesias would be dismissed.

 

It would appear this was not an isolated incident, indeed the White House now says "presidential adviser Karl Rove served as a conduit for complaints about federal prosecutors." So, let's head back to 2002, when a US Attorney leading up a grand jury investigation into the activities of lobbyist Jack Abramoff in Guam was removed from his position the day after he issued subpoenas in connection with the investigation.

 

His dismissal -- and replacement by Leonardo Rapadas who came highly recommended to Rove by the Guam Republican Party -- effectively ended the investigation of Abramoff, which dealt with a secret contract he held with Guam's Superior Court officials to lobby against a court reform bill; work for which he was paid by checks shuttled through a California lawyer's office.

 

At the time this was going on, Karl Rove's assistant was a woman named Susan Ralston, who had previously worked for Jack Abramoff.

 

If Karl Rove serves as the "conduit" for complaints about attorneys heading up public corruption investigations, and many of those attorneys are dismissed in the middle of those investigations, does this constitute a pattern of abuse wherein attorneys investigating elected officials are punished for attempting to enforce accountability among lawmakers?

We're concerned that US Attorneys are not sufficiently insulated against partisan politics, and that their essential investigations of public corruption are being hampered by political maneuvering. Click here to write Congress and demand they do more to protect US Attorneys working for the public good.